Malaysia: Patients moved to hospital's upper level as flash floods in Sarawak worsen

ADIB POVERA New Straits Times 27 Feb 16;

KUCHING: Patients on the ground floor of Sarawak General Hospital here had to be evacuated as ankle-deep floodwaters entered the medical facility.

A state Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said a team was deployed to the hospital to evacuate patients on the ground floor to the higher level.

“The relocation of patients went on smoothly without any untoward incidents,” he said adding that firefighters were helping hospital staff to clean the premise.

The flash floods here is expected to worsen as continuous rain is expected to shower several areas in Kuching and Samarahan until this afternoon.

Checks by the New Straits Times found that flash floods had inundated roads here, including Jalan Tun Openg, Jalan Batu Lintang, Jalan Padungan, Jalan Tabuan Dayak and the roads near the Sarawak General Hospital.

According to Kuching Zone Fire and Rescue Station chief Tiong Ling Hi Jalan Tabuan Dayak was among the worst affected by the downpour, with floodwaters about 1m.

“Our men and assets are on standby now and ready to be deployed if the situation worsens,” he said.

The Meteorology Department today has issued a heavy rain warning for the divisions of Samarahan, Serian and Kuching.

The department, on its website, said heavy rain was expected to persist in these divisions until early afternoon.

Airport spared, Police headquarters submerged
ADIB POVERA New Straits Times 27 Feb 16;

KUCHING: Those flying out of Kuching International Airport (KIA) have been advised to come early to avoid missing their flights as flash floods hit the city today.

Airport senior manager Mohd Nadzmi Hashim, however, said the situation was under control at KIA and it was not affected by the flash floods, which wreaked havoc in several parts of Kuching and Samarahan this morning.

“The airport is not affected by flash flood as we are on higher ground compared with the city.

“Nevertheless, passengers have been advised to come to the airport early to avoid missing their flights.” Heavy rain, which is expected to last until afternoon, submerged several main roads in the city.

The Sarawak General Hospital was also affected, with ankle-deep water on its ground level.

Even the Sarawak police headquarters was not spared from the wet spell, with several of its buildings at Jalan Badaruddin submerged.

Kuching flood update: Floodwaters recede from Sarawak hospital
ADIB POVERA New Straits Times 27 Feb 16;

KUCHING: It is business as usual at Sarawak General Hospital although several of its buildings were hit by flash floods earlier today.

Assistant State Minister for Public Health Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said the situation was under control at the hospital since water that had earlier entered the ground floor of its premises had started to recede. "No patients were evacuated since the flood situation is under control.

"The flash floods inundated the ground floor of one of the hospital buildings, which houses the children's ward.

"There was no untoward incidents and operations at the hospital proceeded as usual," said Dr Jerip when contacted today.

Checks showed the rain had stopped but several roads in the city were still inundated by water. State Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (operation) Farhan Sufyan Borhan said water in several parts of the city had begun to recede as of 11am today.

"We have deployed our men to flood sticken - areas to assist those stranded by the flash floods."

Sarawak capital underwater after overnight rain
Today Online 27 Feb 16;

KUCHING CITY — Heavy overnight rain, coupled with a 5.5m king tide which peaked at 7.30am, has left Kuching city, Sarawak, underwater.

Flood waters have reportedly entered the police headquarters at Jalan Badruddin, the Sarawak general hospital and even a hotel, and roads leading to the police headquarters and hospital are under a metre of water at certain stretches.

This is the first time the hospital has been hit in Sarawak's flood season and services on the ground floor, such as the pharmacy, have reportedly been moved to another floor.

Main roads like Jalan Tun Openg, Jalan Batu Lintang have turned into a river, forcing motorists to take diversions to reach their destinations.

Many city folk were unaware of the severity of the floods and early morning motorists were left stranded on roads.

The Fire and Rescue Services Department headquarters at Jalan Batu Lintang is also underwater.

Kpg Tabuan Dayak, a village about 3km from the city centre, was waist-deep in water and residents have been placed on alert for possible evacuation.

The Fire and Rescue Services Department reported the water level had begun to recede with the tide.

But if the rain does not subside, Kuching residents, especially on the western side of the city, and those living along Sungai Sarawak, are bracing for another flood when the king tide – the last of the month – sets in at 6.39pm today.

There are no reports yet on the situation in flood-prone outlying areas although the Civil Defence Department in the media WhatsApp chat group reported that there have been no evacuations so far. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Floods wreak havoc in Sarawak
The Star 28 Feb 16;

KUCHING: Several hours of excessive rainfall caused flash floods in many parts of the city, inundating the Sarawak General Hospital, state police headquarters and other public buildings.

State Fire and Rescue assistant director of operations Farhan Sufyan Borhan said the department received 17 flood-related calls since the rain began at about 3am yesterday.

"We provided assistance to move patients to the first floor at the Sarawak General Hospital. We also helped to evacuate residents from Kampung Tabuan Dayak to a temporary relief centre," he said.

He also said areas such as Padang Merdeka, Batu Lintang, Satok, Taman Malihah and Tabuan were under at least a foot of water. Even the Batu Lintang fire station was not spared.

However, he added that the floods began subsiding at about 11am as the rain eased up.

State Public Health Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said the car park and paediatrics block of the hospital were affected by the flash floods.

"I think it's because of the drainage along that area.

"There needs to be a major relook at our drainage system and how to control overflowing water," he said.

This is the third time Kuching has been hit by floods this month. A combination of heavy rain and high tides caused flooding during the first few days of Chinese New Year and again last weekend when nearly 8,000 people were evacuated.

According to state Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Chok Moi Soon, over 300mm of rain fell in parts of Kuching yesterday morning while a few other stations recorded rainfall exceeding 200mm.

"Our drainage system could not cope, resulting in flash floods," he told a press conference, adding that the city's drainage was designed for an average of 150-180mm of rain.

Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government would call a meeting within the next two weeks to discuss a long-term solution to flash floods in the city.

He said the meeting would be attended by experts from DID and the Meteorological Department, local authorities and relevant agencies.

"We have identified possible reasons for this flash flood, including our drainage system. We are looking seriously into this.

"We will do some rectification to find a long-term solution," he said.

Wet weekend for Kuching as heavy downpour hits city
YU JI The Star 29 Feb 16;

KUCHING: For thousands of residents in Kuching, Padawan and Serian, it has been another tough weekend of floods and cleaning up.

For the third time this month, the state capital and surrounding areas experienced heavy floods.

On Saturday, they came without warning and created major havoc.

From midnight, it rained more than 300mm – Kuching’s drainage is designed for 150-180mm of rain, while the average rain day is 90mm.

The oldest parts of the city were worst affected by the sudden downpour. At Kai Joo Lane, the waters were waist-high.

Even the Sarawak General Hospital was flooded for the first time ever.

“Some stock at the pharmacy was submerged. We are assessing now. The affected drugs will be discarded,” said Assistant Public Health Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil in an interview yesterday.

“When the floods came on Satur­day morning, we shut down all the lifts except one, which was re­­served for emergencies and movement to the operating theatre.”

During the height of the floods, electricity to residential estates in­­clu­ding Tabuan Dayak was halted as a safety precaution.

Large sections of the inner city were in a mass clean-up, with small businesses like grocery stores not taking any chances.

“Because of past experiences, we told everyone, even before Chinese New Year, to be ready for the entire month of February,” said Datuk Wee Hong Seng, who headed the In­­dia Street pedestrian mall ma­­nagement committee.

He added that the council had begun designing new drainage for areas near the bus terminal at Jalan Masjid and Padang Merdeka, and would begin the tender process in April.

At 8am yesterday, the Fire and Rescue Department opened two relief shelters, accommodating 311 evacuees from Serian, which is about 60km from here.

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